Letters Nov. 26: Singling out churches; Government House grounds closed; cost of Site C

Why were churches singled out?

I am shocked at the hypocritical and inconsistent order promulgated on Nov. 20. Like all other British Columbians, I had heard news of rising case rates (whatever that means) as well as rising hospitalizations from COVID-19.

I don’t discount the seriousness of the disease; two close friends are suffering through a serious bout with the disease.

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My initial reaction to the shutdown order for churches was resignation. I didn’t like it, but what can we do? If incidences of the disease are rising, we should take measures to mitigate the problem.

However, I subsequently discovered that not ALL assemblies are prohibited. You can still go to the movie theatre. You can still go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (even those meeting in churches), as long as there are no more than 50 persons in attendance.

Previously, church services were allowed up to 50, the same number allowed at AA meetings. Yes, physical distancing and cleaning protocols needed to be maintained, of course.

But one has to ask, what is the difference between 50 in an AA meeting (in a church) and 50 in a church meeting (in a church)?

The inconsistency here makes it look like the government is deliberately singling out churches. Surely that is not so! Is it?

In a free society, we can understand giving up some freedoms if we all give them up equally, so to speak. It doesn’t look right or seem right to single out one type of assembly but allow others.

Are we all in this together or not?

Pastor Don Johnson
|Grace Baptist Church

Can’t go to church, but shopping is fine

The Times Colonist story on “clearing up the new restrictions” from Dr. Bonnie Henry did not offer substantial explanation. There is no consistency, if this is about risk.

How is Winners in Langford allowed 184 people in a store, with one bathroom, but large stadium churches are closed? These churches have large seating capacities, multiple entrances and multiple bathrooms.

There is little logic to what is allowed for retail models, and then what is punished or restricted for churches.

Religion might not be a priority to our governing bodies, but under the theme of consistency there is literally no fair translation here and it looks prejudicial.

Go to Canadian Tire on a Saturday, Winners any day, and then tell me how it’s logical we shut down churches where there is larger space, more exits, more bathrooms and much less risk.

I have lost confidence in Henry and the inconsistency with this disease.

Derek Sanderson

Reopen grounds at Government House

The grounds and gardens of Government House is a beautiful and exceptional space in Victoria. Far enough away from the addled and the addicted, it is an oasis for pensioners, like myself, and young mothers with toddlers.

In the middle of a pandemic the ability to walk through gardens both formal and casual, tread on the fallen leaves, and contemplate the spectacular views is a balm.

I was shocked to discover that the grounds have been closed to the public, the reason being too many graybeards are gathering in the gazebo to chat.

Would it not have been better to merely tape off the gazebo? Post a sign or two? The cavalier action of the lieutenant-governor shows an attitude even more out of touch with citizens than the person she represents.

Brian Jones

Site C work continues as province suffers

It was clearly with relief that Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps learned last week that the province was to send $6.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds to Victoria. The mayor of Vancouver was not so pleased, claiming the city had been “shafted” by only receiving $16 million as compared to the expected $60 million.

The sums seem large, but not in contrast to what Premier John Horgan is allowing B.C. Hydro to continue to spend at Site C, despite the project being under review. Namely, $100 million a month or $3 million a day.

The premier announced the review on July 31, neatly closing off discussion of the project during the election. Since then, construction at Site C has continued apace, the Peace River has been diverted, construction of the coffer dams continued, and a start made to the powerhouse, all for a cost of well over $300 million.

As communities all around the province struggle with the costs of provision for the homeless, lack of affordable housing, the opiod crisis, and the results of inadequate investment in mental health treatment and hospitals, all during the conditions of the pandemic, what are we supposed to make of this government’s priorities?

This project has not yet been determined by any regulatory review as necessary to supplement generation capacity in B.C. Is this level of spending by the province rational or appropriate for these times?

Ken Farquharson


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